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John W. Young joined NASA's astronaut corps in 1962 and is the first person to fly into space six times from Earth, and, in addition, have one lunar liftoff. His first flight was the Gemini 3 mission with Gus Grissom, a complete end-to-end test of the Gemini spacecraft during which he operated the first computer on a manned spacecraft. On the Gemini 10 mission, Mr. Young served as commander for the completion of a dual rendezvous with two separate Agena target vehicles. He then became the Command Module pilot for Apollo 10, orbiting the moon, completing a lunar rendezvous, and tracking proposed lunar landing sites. His fourth mission, Apollo 16, was a lunar exploration mission in which Young served as Spacecraft Commander. He and Charlie Duke set up scientific equipment and explored the lunar highlands at Descartes. They collected almost 200 pounds of rocks and drove over 16 miles in the lunar rover during their three separate geology traverses.
Mr. Young became Spacecraft Commander for STS-1, the first flight of the Space Shuttle. This 54-1/2 hour, 36-orbit mission verified the Space Shuttle systems performance during launch, on orbit, and during reentry. Test of the Orbiter included evaluation of mechanical systems: such as payload bay doors, attitude and maneuvering rocket thrusters, guidance and navigation systems, and Orbiter/crew compatibility. One hundred and thirty three of the mission's flight test objectives were accomplished. The Orbiter Columbia was the first-manned spaceship tested during ascent and entry orbit without benefit of previous unmanned missions. It was also the first winged reentry vehicle to return from space to a runway landing on the dry lakebed at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
Mr. Young's sixth spaceflight was as Spacecraft Commander of the first Spacelab mission on STS-9. The mission successfully completed all 94 of its flight test objectives. During the 10 day mission the crew worked 12-hour shifts around the clock performing more than 70 experiments in the fields of atmospheric physics, Earth observations, space plasma physics, astronomy and solar physics, materials processing, and life sciences. This mission returned more scientific and technical data than all the previous Apollo and Skylab missions put together.
In addition to the spaceflight missions, Mr. Young has served as Chief of the Space Shuttle Branch of the Astronaut Office as well as Chief of the Astronaut Office. He served as Special Assistant to the Director of Johnson Space Center for Engineering, Operations, and Safety and subsequently became the Associate Director (Technical), responsible for technical, operational, and safety oversight of all agency programs and activities assigned to Johnson Space Center. He remains an active astronaut, eligible to command future Shuttle astronaut crews. Mr. Young is married, is the father of two children and the grandfather of two. He enjoys wind surfing, bicycling, reading, and gardening. Among his many awards are the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, three NASA Distinguished Service Medals, NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, and Navy Astronaut Wings. Mr. Young was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 1988.
From Civil Air Patrol's 1997 National Congress On Aviation And Space Education (NCASE) Conference Program.
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Updated: 12 March, 2004